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Remembered Today:

RMLI Pte C W Hunter Russian Medal Award


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My grandfather, Charles William Hunter (Po.16718) served in the Royal Marines Light Infantry from 1913 until 1919.  He died following injury at sea in 1932.  He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the 1914-1918 Medal and the Victory Medal.  However, his discharge paper from the 5 Bn Hampshire Defence Force dated 1921 also credits him with the Order of St George.  This may be incorrect and I suspect that it may rather relate to an award of the Russian Medal of St George.  He served on HMS Glory in Murmansk during 1918 . 

 

A summary of his service is:

6 Aug 1913 - 27 May 1914, C Coy, Depot Deal

28 May 1914 - 26 Aug 1914, G Coy, Portsmouth Div

27 Aug 1914 - 10 Dec 1916, G Coy, Sappho

11 Dec 1916 - 21 Feb 1917, G Coy, Ports Div (Charles Trotman commanding)

22 Feb 1917 - 1 Feb 1918, G Coy, Orlanza

2 Feb 1918 - 21 Feb 1918, G Coy, Portsmouth Div, HQ (C Trotman cmdg)

22 Feb 1918 - 28 Oct 1918, G Coy, Glory

29 Oct 1918 - 1 Aug 1919, G Coy, Portsmouth Div, (C Trotman cmdg), invalided.

 

I would be grateful for any advice on how to confirm the Russian award and the reasons for it.

 

Thank you in anticipation.

Edited by Guest
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Hi

I can't find him, but that doesn't mean he was not awarded a Russian award of some kind.

The Royal Marine Museum has a narrative written by Captain T H Jameson RMLI explaining the lack of Russian awards.

 

"Russian Admiral Kolchak awarded a number of awards and decorations, but not many days later Sir Charles Eliot informed the Supreme Ruler that he was instructed to say the British Govt could no longer recognise the Ornsk Govt and British forces in Serbia were to be withdrawn. When Admiral Kolchak informed the High Commissioner of his recent action in awarding these decorations, Sir Charles directed that they should be handed back."

 

I have seen on some records where some RN and RM have only received an empty box or packet, you must understand that it was a very political time during the Reds taking over and allies were changing.

Awards to Commonwealth forces during WW1 were listed in the London Gazette but because the British were supporting the white Russians during the Civil War and did not know how things in Russia would go, most of the Russian awards for that period are not gazetted( so as not to upset the Reds if they Won) but are listed on a document at Kew NA called the "Confidential List".

The Army and RAF have quite a few awards  on this list but the RN and RM have very few in comparison, in fact the RM's have only 5 all to officers.

 

I'm more of an army person, so someone else with more knowledge of Naval affairs may be able to help you more.

 

Sorry I can't be of more help

 

Peter

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22 hours ago, Charlie Hunter said:

22 Feb 1918 - 28 Oct 1918, G Coy, Glory

Chapter 13 of 'Britain's Sea Soldiers' by Gen Sir H E Blumberg covers these operations and may be of interest

However, the book's 'Appendix 3', which details the awards of the Russian St. George's Cross (4th Class) does not include Hunter's name among the recipients

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There seems to be a listing in ledger ADM171/74 at Kew, but for Armoured Car Division:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C975044

there are some scrambled images but I can at least see one Russian order of St Stanislav and doubtless there are others.

Not sure if there are other elements included.

Edited by sotonmate
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Per Blumberg, the Russian Order of St Stanislass, (2nd & 3rd classes with swords) and the Order of St Anne with swords, were awarded to commissioned officers;

the only exception was one RM Gunner who was given the medal of the Order of St Anne (RM Gunner is the senior WO rank in the RM)

All those awarded the St George's Cross 4th Class were ORs 

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Thank you for all your swift replies.  Much appreciated.  My uncle confirms that Charles William actually had the distinctive Russian medal but that, unlike the standard British ones, it has been lost over the years since his death in 1932.

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Your grandfather was probably part of the RM detachment in HMS GLORY, based at Murmansk. He may have arrived at Murmansk with HMS COCHRANE on 7 March 1918. GLORY had a change of ship's company on 18 October 1918, when she re-commissioned at Murmansk. The old ship's company returned to UK in SS PORTO.

 

The operations of the RM detachments during 1918 are detailed in Blumberg Chapter 13, Part1, pp194-198.

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